Pentagon: US sailors made 'navigational error' into Iranian waters

Pentagon: US sailors made 'navigational error' into Iranian waters

Iranian and USA officials said a mechanical problem apparently caused the vessels to enter Iranian territory.

The sailors later were transferred ashore by U.S. Navy aircraft, the news release said, and other sailors took charge of the boats and continued transiting toward Bahrain.

An unidentified USA sailor is seen apologising for his patrol boat having entered Iranian territorial waters in the Gulf by mistake in this still image taken from video taken at an unknown location on January 13, 2016. Asked how they were being treated, the service member called Iran's behavior "fantastic", thanking Iran for their "hospitality" and "assistance".

A US Navy sailor has been forced to make a humiliating apology on Iranian TV after being captured in the country's territorial waters.

US officials had said on Tuesday that Tehran assured them the crew and vessels would be returned safely and promptly.

Nevertheless, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) detained the 10 sailors and seized their two boats Tuesday, within three miles of the IRGC naval base in Iran's Farsi Island, described as an "extremely sensitive" facility by CNN.

"If followed advice of some of the Republican critics of the administration, we'd probably be in a bloody war with Iran right now over our sailors", Earnest added.

An earlier video, shown below, shows two 52-foot U.S. Navy Riverine Command Boats surrounded by IRG armed speedboats.

"Secretary of State John Kerry used the personal relationship he has formed with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to work out the crews" release.

Officials also confirmed "the Navy will investigate the circumstances that led to the sailors' presence in Iran".

They were held for 16 hours.

The US and Islamic republic's officials scrambled to defuse the situation, which unfolded as Iran's nuclear accord with world powers reached implementation.

The news comes less than a month after US officials accused Iran of launching a "highly provocative" rocket test near USA boats passing through the Strait of Hormuz.

Commenting on the apparent apology by the US, Defence Secretary Ash Carter said: "I think we need to give these guys the opportunity to tell us what was really going on and what the overall context (was)".

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